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Farmers hit planting season

Farmers make big decisions in the face of COVID-19

WEST LIBERTY, Iowa — Spring is planting season and farmers across the region say they aren't letting the current health pandemic stop them. America's grain producers' remain optimistic.

The ag. industry never stops. Crops still need to be planted and people still need to eat. 

Corn and soybean farmer Mark Heckman has about 160 acres of land to plant.

Farmers are some of the most tenacious, persevering people in our community.

Mark says, "South East Iowa we grinds over a million bushels a day. And I am proud to be part of that."

So with warmer air and soil temperatures, producers are moving in, putting in the hours.

Fifth generation, corn and soybean farmer Austin Maas says he'll be planting for the next 10 days. And with 2000 acres to cover, he'll be very busy.

"In the markets its effected everybody. On the operations side it hasn't really effected anything," said Austin.

With many farmers still trying to recover from last year's floods, coupled with this year's pandemic, 2020 is looking like a year of very low prices.

Corn is used in more than 4000 products on our supermarket shelves. Farmers say if they let COVID-19 stop them, some of those products would cease to exist.

"Gas stations have ethanol... The hamburgers we eat are corn fed beef," says Mark.

Farmers have always been a resilient bunch, and clearly this year is no different. BJ Weber in Geneseo is planting and so is Hans Schneckloth and Joan Maxwell in Davenport.

According to the USDA, 94 million acres of corn and 85 million acres of soybeans will planted across the nation this year. The fourth largest amount since 1990.